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Weekend Box Office: Keep your stinking paws on me

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The signs were not encouraging: A Planet Of The Apes prequel, produced a decade after Tim Burton’s widely disparaged remake and released in the dregs of August, as the summer movie season is sputtering to a close. And yet Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes may be the biggest surprise of the summer, surpassing most expectations with $54 million opening weekend. Could the critics be partly responsible? Pundits are always quick to label your Transformers and your Hangover Part II’s “critic-proof,” but surely a consensus declaring the new Planet Of The Apes movie to be not nearly as bad as it looks—good, in fact—drove some wavering moviegoers to the theater. Goodness knows, they didn’t show up to see The Change-Up, which is every bit as bad as it looks, ending a long streak of successful R-rated comedies. At $13.5 million, it barely snuck into fourth, edging out Captain America in its third week. The sad news for America is that The Smurfs, that unholy fusion of live action, animation, nostalgia, and Satan, dropped a mere 41 percent from its opening number, giving it the clear advantage over fading blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens, and all but guaranteeing a sequel that Tasha Robinson will be forced to review. (Sorry, Tasha.)

In limited release, the much buzzed-about Sundance favorite Bellflower won a reasonably healthy $12,000 per screen on two screens, but others had a harder time, including The Whistleblower (a mediocre $8,300 per screen on seven screens) and Raúl Ruiz’s 270-minute Mysteries Of Lisbon, which brought in only $5,750 per screen on two screens.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.